Jointing Boards Wider Than Your Jointer

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Most woodworkers try to buy a jointer that has enough capacity to handle any board that we would want to face joint or edge joint. But let’s face it; jointing boards wider than your jointer is a requirement that many woodworkers face from time to time. First of all, you should look at this challenge through a positive lens; it means that you’ve scored some great lumber!

When considering jointing boards wider than your jointer, perhaps it is wise to start with a suggestion on what not to do.. A woodworker might jump to the conclusion that, since the board is wider than my jointer, I’ll just try running it through the planer a few times to see if I can get a flat face that way. The outcome is predictable; you’ll end up with a board that has the same shape as it started with, only thinner. Each pass through that planer will peel away more valuable lumber, and not fix any bows or crooks that the board has. Therefore, when jointing boards wider than your jointer it’s best to follow a couple important principles:

Learn how to master the jointer

Working with boards that exceed the capacity of your machine will require that you understand all of the mechanics of your jointer, and how to safely push the limits of the tool.

Use the jointer to help establish the flat face

Even though the board might be larger than the capacity of your jointer, there is a technique that can be used to establish a flat surface on one face of the board.

Finish on the planer

This will require a bit of creative ingenuity, but you can plane the opposing side to the flat face with a jig. Then, flip it and finish flattening the first side.